In the fall of 2006—shortly after I arrived in Orion—several of us met for a “dream session” to consider what our church might do to better meet the needs of our congregation and to reach out to our community. One of the things we identified was the need for more space, ideally a gymnasium. But where could we build it? In the prayer garden? Do we extend the education wing to the west? To the east? Those options would’ve cost well over a million dollars. Would that be too much for our congregation to shoulder? Would the Grundstrom property ever become available?
Of course, it did. And on Sunday, March 5 District Superintendent Sylvester Weatherall will preach our dedicatory services for our Methodist Activity Center at both 8 and 10:30 am. I hope you will join us for this historic occasion.
The MAC has become a dream come true thanks to the many, many people who shared in the dream. Thank you to our board of trustees: Sue DeDecker, Janet Marshall, Carrie McCunn, Don Berns, Ty Bingham, Gerald DeBaillie, Cliff Harrell, John Schenk and Betty Jo Versluis who brought the dream to life without rancor.
Many thanks to Carrie McCunn, who, with her two master’s degrees in architecture, was instrumental in working with our contractors and certainly in the final design of our MAC.
Thank you to our contractors and suppliers: John Hirsch Painting, Myers Plumbing & Heating, CSI Insulation, West Concrete, East Moline Glass, T&M Electric, Carpet Time, Pro-Build, Temple Sporting Goods and West Music.
Jerry DeBaillie was the first person to approach me with the hope that we purchase and renovate “that old shed.” Since then, he’s put in countless hours in the MAC assisting with electricity, insulation, sweeping and so much more.
Thank you to our electrician, Tom Griffin, for the many hours you gave to this project. Thank you to your volunteer assistants: John Schenk, Jerry DeBaillie, Dan Combites and Don Berns. Don, John and Jerry also put in the stairs and deck on the east side of the MAC. And John and Jerry spent hours on their knees stuffing insulation at the base of the steel walls, installing door handles and doing far more than I can recall.
I’m not an electrician, but I can paint and it was my joy to paint much of the non-carpeted walls in the building. But I didn’t work alone. Thanks to Autumn Manning, Betty Jo Versluis, Jill Kosek and Margaret Johnson who shared in the painting.
Thank you to the ladies of the church who insisted that we needed a kitchen in the MAC. You were right and the result is remarkable.
Thank you to our kitchen committee—Autumn Manning, Betty Jo Versluis, Diane McCunn, Toni Carlson and Jill Kosek—for your hard work which extended well beyond the kitchen. Thank you for dreaming up moveable counters. Thank you to Don Berns for constructing them and to Diane McCunn for staining and finishing them.
Thank you to Jon Ditzman for installing our sound system and to Don Berns for suspending our ceilings.
Thank you to our teens who cleaned out the expansion joints and to Doug Killion who enabled us to scrub the floor.
Terry Waldbusser rotated off the board of trustees a couple of years ago, but not before leaving his mark on the MAC. He’s the one who suggested putting a half-wall on both sides of the stage to enhance visibility. Thanks for that great idea, Terry!
Now I want to apologize to every person I’ve just thanked. That’s because there’s not one of them who was seeking recognition. Not one of them sought so much as a thank you; they all labored because they shared in the dream. And because so many worked without seeking recognition, I’ve probably forgotten someone. If so, I again apologize.
Finally, thank you to our permanent endowment committee, our finance committee and our administrative council who were committed to renovating the MAC without incurring debt. Yet they never let that commitment become a roadblock to progress. Whenever we needed money to pay a contractor or purchase supplies, it was always somehow miraculously there. And that’s because I’ve reserved my most heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the members and friends of this congregation. You shared in this dream. And you invested in this dream, giving an average of $839 each and every week over the 153 weeks of renovation—and without cutting back on your support of either the general fund of the church or our commitment to missions.
I am and always will be humbled to have served as your pastor, especially during this wonderful and amazing chapter in the life of Orion United Methodist Church.
I’ll see you in church…and in the MAC!